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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:23 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #187: March 4, 2005

Asian Business & Management

Journal Name: Asian Business & Management: March 2005, Volume 4, Number 1


China's Human Resource Management Strategies: The Role of Enterprise and Government (pp5 - 21)
Robert Taylor (Centre for Chinese Studies, School of East Asian Studies, Floor 5, Arts Tower, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK.)
In the context of transition from a command to a market economy and the increasing globalization of business, China's leaders have emphasized the role of human resource management strategies as the key to international competitiveness. In addition, as the Chinese economy matures, a greater premium is being placed on the service sector, which in turn demands focus on knowledge and innovation, crucial factors in the recruitment and retention of qualified manpower in China's enterprises, whether state-controlled, privately owned by Chinese entrepreneurs or foreign-invested. It is the purpose of this paper to measure the progress of such reforms. Attention will focus on a number of key features: (1) recruitment, (2) assessment and evaluation, (3) training, (4) promotion and (5) remuneration and reward. Traditionally, Chinese enterprises have taken the form of a familial-type community, and one focus is how that solidarity may be transformed into Western-style corporate culture, with two-way communication between management and workforce to enhance employee motivation. Salaries and other material rewards, in addition to welfare provision by companies, nevertheless remain the major inducement to employee loyalty. It is concluded, however, that China's business leaders will not replicate, but adapt foreign human resource management strategies to cultural conditions in China, giving them a uniquely Chinese cast.

Keywords: human resources; knowledge economy; corporate culture

The Shift Towards American-style Human Resource Management Systems and the Transformation of Workers' Attitudes at Japanese Firms (pp23 - 44)
Masabumi Tokoro (Faculty of Politics, Economics and Management, Kokushikan University, 4-28-1 Setagaya, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, 154-8515, Japan.)
Most leading research on the relationship between human resource management systems and worker attitudes in Japan have been based on one-off surveys; research with data over the long term is sparse. Here, I analyse survey data taken at 5-year intervals from 1985, involving around 4,000 union members across Japan. I aim to clarify the effectiveness of the 'company man' type of worker of the early 1980s, and examine problems that have arisen through the process of transformation, especially from the mid-1990s, towards a new type of 'autonomous' worker. Survey analysis shows that, in Japan's post-war growth period, there were rational grounds for 'Japanese-style management' systems. The inevitability of the appearance of the 'company man' is also demonstrated from the identification of typical characteristics in employee attitudes. However, as a result of the sweeping conquest of American-style capitalist principles, from the 1990s worker attitudes have moved towards a more 'company-independent' model. I suggest that as a consequence a need has arisen at the micro-level for mental health care for those who have adapted poorly to the changes, and there is a need at the macro-level for policies to support workers in the shift towards a new 'multiple commitment' style of work.

Keywords: HRM; worker attitudes; Japanese-style management; company man; U-shaped job satisfaction curve; autonomous worker; multiple commitment

Industrial Revitalization in Japan: The Role of the Government vs the Market (pp45 - 65)
Nicole Pohl (Franklin & Marshall College, Economics Department, PO Box 3003, Lancaster, PA 17604, USA.)
As a semi-public institution, the Industrial Revitalization Corporation of Japan (IRCJ) is an example of government involvement in functions that could be provided by private markets. Questions discussed in this paper are the setup and aims of the IRCJ and its relationship to private market solutions, as well as whether its design will allow the IRCJ to succeed. In particular, we argue that the IRCJ's position in a wider and complex network of public actors and its openness to various pressures provides it with a very difficult starting point. For a public institution to be successful in industrial revitalization in Japan, transparency and clarity of rules and aims are key; but these are characteristics that the IRCJ does not possess. Measured by its first actions, broad industrial revitalization is something that the IRCJ cannot achieve. Instead, its focus seems to be to provide regional safety nets.

Keywords: Japan; industrial revitalization; corporate turnaround

Inter-organizational Network and Firm Performance: The Case of the Bicycle Industry in Taiwan (pp67 - 91)
Samson Wong Yue-Ming (Graduate School of International Development, Nagoya University, Furo-cho, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan.)
The management of inter-firm networks is of paramount importance in the study of company performance. In this paper, we attempt to provide a better understanding of how the competencies of firms in an emerging market may be strengthened through the assiduous manipulation of network relationships. Using research data on 52 firms in the bicycle industry of Taiwan, we explore whether involvement in strategic network organizations can be a valuable aid to competitiveness. In particular, we find that company performance benefits from strong network functions in the technology and marketing made available by such inter-firm relationships. Our findings confirm that those producers with more collaborations with other firms within their industry perform better than otherwise comparable firms with fewer cooperative activities. Consistent with our argument within the supplier-buyer relationship in the industry, our statistical analyses also suggest that suppliers retain a more proactive strategic behaviour in managing business networks than buyers.

Keywords: bicycle industry; collaboration; firm performance; networks; buyer-supplier

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